-originally appeared on TheNewGay.net
-May 23rd, 2011
-written by Kaysey Crump, TNG Music Columnist
If you’re a frequent reader of TNG you’ve probably come across Jeremy Gloff’s column “Cynical and Southern.” It turns out that Gloff is not only a wonderful queer writer, but he also has quite the musical resume. Gloff has been playing and writing music for almost twenty years and this month marks the release of his seventeenth album, THIS. THIS is a danceable, humorous, and honest album with many exciting guest appearances including queer rapper Shunda K.
Jeremy answered some questions about his new album, the evolution of the queer music scene and why his manager has had him on Facebook lockdown.
The New Gay: How did you first hear about TNG and what made you want to contribute?
Jeremy Gloff: I believe I was complaining the vapidity of gay culture on Myspace and my friend Kyle messaged me and said…”hey…why don’t you check this site out?” That site of course was TNG. After browsing around for an hour or two I felt like TNG was something I had to be part of. I was so enamored and impressed by the voices on the site I felt driven to add my own.
TNG: You have been writing and performing music for almost twenty years now, in your experience how has the queer music scene changed?
JG: I’ve always been on the outskirts of any scene so I’m not sure I can answer accurately. I will say I think the MUSIC scene has changed. When I started in the early 1990s people really tuned in to emotions and lyrics. Now people almost exclusively seem to tune in to good beats and good hooks. It seems that even people starting out who are in it just for the heart of it quickly fall victim to trying to fit industry prototype. Glossy press kits and bullshit generic band bios abound.
As far as the queer music scene…it’s so sadly divided. There’s no cohesion. There’s no glue. The folk singers don’t know the dance singers. The OUTmusic New York crowd exists with little connection to the Atlanta Mondohomo queer fest crowd. I love the queer underground hip hop and electro scene, good supportive people.
I tried doing an interview series once to try to help different queer artists get to know each other. Sadly, barely anyone took any interest in any of the columns but their own. So I stopped.
TNG: Do you feel there are more opportunities for queer performers now that there are more openly gay high-profile performers like Rufus Wainwright and Melissa Etheridge?
JG: I’m not so sure how much of an impact Rufus or Melissa had on the industry. They certainly didn’t use their high profile success to try to nurture and promote younger gay artists. Imagine the whirlwind of excitement if Melissa or Rufus organized their own queer version of Lollapalooza? Despite the success of Rufus most gay men I know don’t listen to queer musicians. They listen to Lady Gaga. I’ve yet to see gay men embrace one of their own…unless they’re drunk at a club mentally jerking off to Cazwell’s ice cream video, what an embarrassment.
TNG: You are very open and honest in your music. Have you witnessed a change in how fans respond to that over the years?
JG: People who enjoy my music enjoy my loud mouth. That was the same in 1993 as it is in 2011. Truthfully my current manager put me on facebook lockdown in the months leading up to the release of the new album. Sometimes things I post online cause such a fervor he didn’t want anything to detract from the release of THIS.
TNG: Your new album THIS features so many wonderful guests. Did you set out to make a collaborative record? How did it all fall into place?
JG: Most of my albums have a lot of collaborations. I enjoy sharing my music with my friends. There’s always such a fun and positive atmosphere in the studio when I record. My intuition signals to me who should be on what song.
I tend to downplay my notoriety but when I set out to make THIS I said to myself “alright Jeremy, you just have to get all your cult famous friends on this album…don’t be shy,” and so I did.
TNG: How did you meet Shunda K? She seems like she would be a blast to work with.
JG: I met Shunda when we did a show together years ago. Shunda is a blast … she’s in it for the same reason I’m in it. To be expressive. To connect with people through words. And to make people sweat between the legs because they’ve been dancing so hard.
TNG: Who would be involved in your dream collaboration?
JG: My dream collaboration already happened. Since I was young I was enthralled with the music of Jill Jones, one of Prince’s protégés who went on the have her own colorful cult career. (Jill was one of the girls in Prince’s “1999” video who sang “I was dreaming when I wrote this forgive me if it goes astray…” She was also the waitress in “Purple Rain”.)
In 2001 I heard Jill’s album TWO and I knew that we had to become friends and that we had to write together.
As fate would have it, we did become friends. One of Jill’s people saw my review of her album on Amazon.com. This led to a long friendship that culminated with us writing songs for her next album when I stayed in New York last fall. Incidentally, Jill’s daughter Sena co-wrote one of the songs with me on THIS.
TNG: I appreciate the humor in your music, for instance songs like “Small City” are hilarious yet touching. What inspires your writing?
JG: These songs really come from out of nowhere. Quite often it’s unresolved feelings. Longing. Confusion. When I write a song I’m negotiating my way through an idea. When the song is finished hopefully with it comes a moment of clarity.
Writing for TNG actually had a big impact on the writing of THIS. Doing “Cynical and Southern” (my TNG column) unlocked a lot of bravery in myself. I dig deep inside and search for unspoken truths. With the courage and boldness of writing the column came a new courage and boldness in my songs. THIS would never be what it is had I not been given the opportunity and freedom to be as daring as I am on TNG.
TNG: Speaking of “Small City” what brought you to Tampa?
JG: I wanted to kill myself living in Western New York (literally.) I had a friend moving to Tampa and she needed a roommate. On impulse I threw all my stuff in her U-Haul and told her I’d be down in four months. It was either get out of New York or probably die of depression
I did indeed arrive that October in 1998…and I’ve been in the same apartment since.
TNG: Is there anything else you would like the TNG readers to know about THIS?
JG: THIS is the best queer pop album ever released! Check it out on iTunes or Amazon.com. You can find me at jeremygloff.com. Thanks for taking the time to cover THIS!